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Chocolate, pumpkin and pecan cake

Serves 8

Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus cooling and resting overnight
Cooking time: 1 hour 25 minutes

I’d describe this cake as a perfect winter warmer, full of earthy flavours and a spicy, nutty crunch. It’s best eaten a day after baking.

Ingredients
125g (4oz) pecan nuts
1 tsp cayenne pepper
225g (7½oz) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
150g (5oz) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
275g (9oz) dark muscovado sugar
3 eggs
275ml (9fl oz) water
3 tsp vanilla paste or extract
250g (8oz) self-raising flour
3 tsp ground cinnamon
100g (3½oz) peeled, deseeded pumpkin, coarsely grated
Cocoa powder, for dusting

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 170°C (fan 150°C)/325°F/gas mark 3). Grease a 23cm (9in) diameter springform cake tin and line with baking paper.
  • In a large bowl, mix the pecans and cayenne pepper together. Place the nuts on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 10 minutes, or until they are golden and crunchy. Leave to cool, then roughly chop.
  • Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the surface of the water does not touch the bowl.
  • Beat the eggs and sugar together in a bowl until nice and smooth, then beat in the melted chocolate mixture, followed by the water and vanilla. Sift the flour and cinnamon together, then fold in until smooth. Fold in the pumpkin and chopped pecans.
  • Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, and then turn out on to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Wrap the cake in clingfilm and store at room temperature for at least 24 hours before eating. Dust with cocoa powder before serving.

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